Maharlika Investment Fund suspended, needing ‘further study’

By: Aianna Xyril Monsod
October 18, 2023

Maharlika Investment Fund law promoted by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has been suspended. Photo courtesy of Yuki Kohara via Nikkei Asia

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. suspended the Maharlika Investment Fund's (MIF) implementation on Wednesday, October 18 stating the need for further study.

The Palace ordered the deferral of the execution of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the law establishing the MIF in a memorandum dated October 12 which was sent to the heads of the Bureau of Treasury, Land Bank of the Philippines, and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

"President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. issued a suspension because he wanted to study carefully the IRR to ensure that the purpose of the fund will be realized for the country's development with safeguards in place for transparency and accountability," Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin said in a statement.

Bersamin also instructed that "all concerned heads of departments, bureaus, offices, and other agencies" be informed of the action by the Treasurer and the chief executive officers of Landbank and DBP.

MIF Bank Relations: Preemptive

President Marcos signed the MIF law on July 18, which establishes the Maharlika Investment Corp. (MIC), a government-owned corporation that would oversee the said funding system. The IRR was released by the Treasury 41 days later, on August 28, as mandated.

The CEOs of Landbank and DBP will each hold seats on the MIC board under the MIF law, in addition to the finance secretary.

After Landbank and DBP made the necessary contribution to the Treasury, both state-run banks asked for a waiver from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' capital requirements rules.

DBP president and CEO Michael de Jesus said that the request was preemptive. He claimed that the bank's ability to adhere to BSP standards would be compromised if DBP's contribution was not taken into account when calculating capital.

Applications for the president and CEO of MIC, two regular board members, and three independent board members are now being reviewed by the MIF advisory board. The board is made up of the budget secretary, the head of the National Economic and Development Authority, and the national treasurer.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, appointed as chair of MIC, which will also handle the MIF, previously reaffirmed that MIC was anticipated to be operational before 2023 comes to an end.